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Cleanup Moves Ahead At Murphy Oil

Release Date: 11/7/2005
Contact Information: For more information contact the Office of External Affairs at (214) 665-2200.

Contact: EPA at 504-731-8627 or Jean Kelly/DEQ at 225-219-3966 

     The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, along with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other state, local and federal officials, are monitoring the cleanup activity around the Murphy Oil Refinery in Meraux. An oil spill of more than 25,000 barrels of crude oil, caused by Hurricane Katrina, impacted an area that is more than one square mile in St. Bernard Parish. Staff members from DEQ's Surveillance Division are on site daily to ensure the cleanup proceeds according to state regulations.

     Approximately 18,000 barrels of oil and 36,333 tons of oiled soil, sediment and debris have been recovered. Murphy will begin cleaning the exterior of residences Wednesday, Nov. 9.

     The affected area surrounding the facility will be cleaned up to meet standards according to DEQ's Risk Evaluation/Corrective Action Program. RECAP standards address risks to human health and the environment posed by the release of chemical constituents such as crude oil to the environment. The program is modeled after national health risk assessment methods.

     If a property owner wishes to have Murphy Oil cleanup his or her property, they can contact Murphy at a toll free number (877) 511-1006. According to the Company, cleanup of the crude oil will be done at the owner's request whether or not a settlement agreement is reached. After the oil is removed from the private property, Murphy Oil will take confirmatory samples to verify that the cleanup meets RECAP standards.  DEQ will have oversight of the process to ensure the area meets residential health standards.

     Murphy will also collect and dispose of household contents such as furniture, clothing, draperies and bedding that have been impacted by the crude oil. All the homeowner has to do is place the debris curbside. EPA will pick up all household hazardous waste such as paints, solvents, cleaning fluids, acids and pesticides, including materials affected by oil. Household hazardous waste must be placed curbside separate from other debris.

     All spills are assessed, identified and cleaned up to RECAP. The regulations were recently revised to incorporate recent advances in environmental science and to improve the overall effectiveness of the program. The program is more stringent than federal standards.

     EPA has completed assessments to determine where further cleanup by Murphy Oil is needed, has documented that Murphy Oil collected 1,484 interior and exterior sediment samples from 841 residences and identified oil contamination on streets that need to be revisited following residential cleanups by Murphy Oil. The Agency is also collecting samples for independent analysis at an off-site laboratory; 144 have been collected to date.